Will Welch announced as Newcastle Falcons captain
The 32-year-old became the Falcons’ youngest ever skipper when he first took over the role a decade ago, leading the club to promotion during his first season.
Making his first-team debut as a teenager and playing 271 times for his one and only professional club, Welch sits third in the Falcons’ all-time appearance chart, just four games behind Tom May and 16 behind current forwards coach Micky Ward.
Serving an initial six-year term as captain, during which time the Falcons reached the Premiership semi-finals, Welch said: “It’s a huge honour to be asked to take the role back on.
“This is my home-town club, I used to come here as a kid to watch Newcastle play and it means a lot to me.
“We’re lucky to have a number of great leaders within the group so it’s not as if I’m the only voice around the place, and I know those guys will be a massive help to me as we prepare for the season ahead.
“It’s an exciting time for the Falcons with a lot of positivity around the place, and I’m happy to play whatever part I can in helping the club achieve our ambitions.”
Head coach Dave Walder said: “Will embodies everything that is good about Newcastle Falcons and is the ideal person to take on the captaincy.
“He leads by example rather than giving big Churchillian speeches, but those daily actions encapsulate the kind of culture that we’re trying to create within the group.
“He will drive the standards in and around training, and his professionalism is beyond question. Allied to that, he is an outstanding player for us, and when we sat down as a coaching team to discuss it he was the obvious choice for captain.”
Leading a squad laden with homegrown talent, Walder added: “Will has come through our academy and put his body on the line for the club for more than a decade, but as he says himself, he is blessed to have the support of a host of other leaders within our squad.
“Over a season as long as ours you don’t just rely on one person to lead the team, but in Will we have a captain who perfectly personifies what we are about.”
Newcastle Falcons will open their pre-season account on Friday August 26 with a trip to Leicester Tigers (7pm), with one further friendly to be announced.
The club’s summer dealings have seen club legend Mark Wilson return to join the Falcons’ coaching staff, with 13 new arrivals to the playing squad: Josh Barton (Coventry), Jeremy Civil (Academy), Luke Coulston (Academy), Sebastian de Chaves (Austin Gilgronis), Ben Douglas (Academy), Nathan Greenwood (Academy), Matias Moroni (Leicester Tigers), Josh Peters (Doncaster), Vereimi Qorowale (British Army), Mike Rewcastle (Academy), Tian Schoeman (Bath), Charlie Smith (Academy) and Josh Thomas (Ospreys).
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